Next spring Air France will cut the number of daily Heathrow to Paris CDG flights from 12 to seven, while boosting London City (LCY) to Paris Orly frequency from four departures a day to six.
The rise in flight numbers at LCY is intended to offer a more robust challenge to Eurostar’s recently speeded-up schedules. Businesspeople with appointments to the south and west of Paris find Orly a more convenient arrival point than the Gare du Nord train station (used by Eurostar).
Orly is also much closer (14km) to central Paris than CDG, which is 26km out. Likewise, in the case of London, Paris-based executives find LCY a more convenient gateway for the capital’s financial areas of Canary Wharf and the City than Eurostar’s St Pancras terminal.
Flights will depart LCY at 0800, 0905, 1200, 1550, 1830 and 1940. Inbound services from Orly leave at 0720, 0820, 1110, 1210, 1500 and 1855.
Some of Air France’s vacated Heathrow slots will be taken up by US carrier Delta when it transfers some services from Gatwick, although Air France itself will use one slot pair when it launches flights to Los Angeles on March 31.
Although Air France is cutting back the number of Paris flights at Heathrow, the actual seat capacity being offered remains largely unchanged. That is because the carrier will be using larger 190-seater Airbus A321s for most departures, compared with today’s mix of smaller 120 to 150-seater A318/319/320s.
To ensure schedule integrity, Air France is allowing a whopping two or three hours turnaround time at Heathrow, compared with just 50 to 60 minutes today. The intention is to have punctual departures for Paris CDG because many passengers use the Heathrow services to make onward connections at Air France’s hub.
The new schedules call for departures from Heathrow at 0640, 0745, 1015, 1305, 1600, 1800 and 2015. From Paris CDG the services will leave at 0730, 1000, 1330, 1610, 1800, 1900 and 2005.
New timings will take effect with the start of the summer schedule at the end of March.
For more information visit airfrance.co.uk.
Report by Alex McWhirter